Rude awakening for planners' dream

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The Independent Online
The injury to Jason Gallian's right hand, while not as serious as first thought, throws England's second-innings plan into limbo. Gallian, who has a crack in his second finger, saw a specialist last night, and is hoping to be fit to bat again.

England's plan to move Gallian up to open in the second innings, if Alec Stewart was kept behind the wicket for a day or more, is ruined. Gallian's departure yesterday for treatment means he will be unable to bat in the second innings - if at all - before number seven in the order.

Yesterday was, in fact, the planners' worst scenario: England experiment with the team on the back of one victory; ask and are given a pitch that has grass for the seamers and bare dry areas for the spinners; win the toss and elect to bat; are dismissed for 147 in 45 overs; and their debutant breaks a finger.

England were full of good intentions. They dropped Mark Ramprakash and called up not the more experienced and in-form John Crawley, but opted for the potential of Gallian.

On Wednesday, Ray Illingworth pronounced the pitch the kind of surface England were seeking. Mike Atherton, winning the toss, preferred a bumpy surface first to a wearing one later, and England fell into despair from the captain's departure to the third ball of the day.

Warwickshire stoutly defended their square, echoing Illy's words that it was the surface the Test and County Cricket Board had been prescribing. Steve Rouse, the head groundsman, added: "It's the sort of pitch on which Lara was creaming them all over the ground last season".

The West Indies did not quite have a perfect day, although the much-derided Junior Murray never put a glove wrong. Curtly Ambrose departed after only 15 overs with a groin strain and the manager, Wes Hall, said he will bowl again "only if necessary".

As at Lord's, a batsman fell immediately after a streaker (two yesterday) appeared, Carl Hooper this time being caught down the leg side. Ladbrokes posted the West Indies as 1-9 favourites last night, the shortest odds ever at the end of a first day's play.